At the start of each year, I ask the Lord to give me a focus word. A couple of years ago, my word was “joy.” It reminded me to reframe the way I viewed difficulties. I learned to see them not as hindrances but as opportunities to experience God’s presence and promises in new ways.
Last year, my word was “listen.” It encouraged me to keep an ear open for the Holy Spirit’s whispers during the course of the day. It also prompted me to listen more intentionally to other people—to hear the true heart behind the words they were speaking.
This year, the word “praise” jumped off the page as I read Psalm 146. The chapter begins, “Praise the LORD. Let all that I am praise the LORD.” (Psalm 146:1) It closes with, “Praise the LORD.” Here are a few thoughts that have come to mind as I’ve pondered it over the past few days.
- Psalm 146 begins and ends with the same instruction. Just as these three words bookend the chapter, so I will bookend my days by intentionally beginning and ending them with praise.
- The first word of this command is “praise,” meaning I’m to acknowledge God for who He is. This is different than thanking Him for what He’s done. It focuses on the characteristics that describe Him—wisdom, compassion, holiness, justice, sovereignty, and more.
- The last word of this command is “LORD.” Beyond any doubt, it tells me who the focus of my praise ought to be—the almighty, self-existent, sovereign Creator. He is above all gods. None can compare to Him.
- Praising the Lord involves my whole-hearted self. “Let all that I am praise the LORD” means everything about me acknowledges His kingship and authority. He rules over my spiritual life, of course. But He also sits as King over my mind, my emotions, and my body.
- Praising the Lord ought to be my practice regardless of my circumstances. “I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath,” says Psalm 146:2. God remains God and deserves praise even if my life takes an unexpected and painful turn.
I’m looking forward to implementing praise even more intentionally than I already have and to seeing its effect in my life.
Do you ask God to give you a focus word at the start of a new year? If so, what’s your word for 2021?
#bgbg2 #oneword #Powerofpraise #Goddeservespraise